Joe's article appeared in the issue of The Galizianer (the quarterly publication of Gesher Galicia) that came out a few days ago. He gave his kind permission to reproduce it here.
The article was originally published in the Winter 2013-2014 issue of L'dor V'dor, the quarterly newsletter of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Maryland and they too have given their permission.
From my side, the story began when the International Tracing Service (ITS) index became fully available at Yad Vashem. My first look was in March 2008 and I found this. (I redacted the address.)
Josef Nathanson of Baltimore had inquired in 1994 about Yetta Pickholz Schaffer of Lwow, born 1880, which may or may not be a precise year. He also inquired about her son and three daughters. As I have mentioned here on other occasions, east Galician families came to Lwow from all over, so there was no telling if this Yetta was from the Rozdol families or the Skalat families. I had no Yetta or Etta or similar born around that time, so I had no idea who this might be.
I wrote to Mr Nathanson at the address listed on the cards and we had quite a flurry of correspondence over several weeks. I had not yet begun my subscription to ancestry.com and my friend Renee Steinig found the passenger list with the name Salomea. But I still could not identify Yetta, so I could not place the Schaffers into the Pikholz family structure.
Joe had a precise date of birth for his mother, but despite my inquiries, we could not get the record from AGAD. So there we sat for two years.
In 2010, AGAD received a few more years of records from the Civil Records Office in Warsaw, but there was a lot to be done before they would allow them to be indexed. I paid someone in Warsaw to do an unofficial search, from which he could give me only extracts.
The search results included two daughters and a son of Yetta and the extract identified the mother as "Jenta Pikholz, c. Salomon Striks i Szejndel Pesel Pikholz." Jenta, not Yetta. And parents we knew. In fact, we had Jenta's 1883 birth record.
|Scheindel Pescha's grave - Vienna. Joe's great-grandmother.|
Scheindel Pescha was the daughter of David Pikholz and his wife Szerke Kawa. She was born 1846, probably in Rozdol, and died in Vienna in 1925. David and Szerka had four sons that we know of and are in touch with a number of descendants. This is the family I call IF4.
|One of at least ten ITS cards for Friedrich|
Otto's daughter gave me some bits of information on the Stryks cousins, but I was never able to make contact with them.
Oh, and eventually we found Salomea's birth record. She was born ten days earlier than what the family had "known."
Now if we could only get some DNA out of these folks...
I have an article of my own scheduled for the next issue of The Galizianer.
The practical genetics course I am taking next month at GRIPitt carries with it a discount coupon for Family Tree DNA tests for my project members. Thus far three new signups and at least two working on it. Thank you GRIPitt and FTDNA!
Friday, I visited Hevron with my son Devir and my cousin Ari. We photographed twenty-two graves that were not there on my last visit nearly two years ago. (I really must get back to going more often.) There is an entirely new section with four graves, next to the section with the old rabbinic graves. You can see my Hevron site here. I should have it fully updated in the next day or two.